I read Danielle Jensen’s Stolen Songbird back in March and fell in love with her elegant writing, ability to create likable characters, and absolute command of what could’ve been a terrible plot. Jensen understands what readers want– a so-called ordinary protagonist who develops throughout the course of the novel, a romance that doesn’t hinge on insta-love, and a plot that doesn’t make romance its key focus– and actually delivers. So as Mulan’s grandmother would say, “Sign me up for the next [troll] war!” Or really, just sign me up for the sequel, Hidden Huntress.
Hidden Huntress begins with the most dire of situations; the one troll with the capacity to challenge the tyrannical king is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped such a situation, as well as the darkness of Trollus, but she soon finds that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power or manipulation. She now lives with her mother in Trianon, gracing the opera stage every night with her immaculate performances. By day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for hundreds of years, Anushka, but to find Anushka, Cécile must resort to dark and deadly magic. But even that might not be enough, as the witch is extremely clever. So Cécile might not just be the hunter; she might also be the hunted. (Side note: I love how this ambiguity is referenced even in the title. Who is the hidden huntress, Anushka or Cécile?)
Unfortunately, this review isn’t going to be the glowing review I had initially envisioned it to be. Though Hidden Huntress does retain Jensen’s impeccable writing style, the actual writing could use some work. Separating Cécile and Tristan for the most of the book made me realize how annoying both characters could be. Yes, for all you you who think Tristan is bae, our bae Tristan can be annoying, especially when he’s not with his other half. Even the romance itself was less magical; gone is most of the witty dialogue and fun. For some reason, many authors think that having the characters finally be in a relationship with each other means that the romance consists only of mushy scenes.
This being said, Hidden Huntress is still a commendable sequel. I personally didn’t see the plot twist, Anushka’s true identity, coming. Granted, I was reading at some unspeakable hours, but I still think most readers will be impressed at Jensen’s ability to hint at Anushka’s identity without truly giving anything away. The fact that Jensen actually gives the villain a backstory is yet another thing I truly appreciate about the novel. Plus, Tristan’s viewpoint makes him the ultimate bae. Honestly, he’s so close to perfect that I’ll call him perfect.
Even though Hidden Huntress is far from perfect, it’s still such a wonderful sequel that I’ll fangirl over it anyways.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Publisher: Angry Robot (June 2nd, 2015)
Length: 464 pages (Paperback)
ISBN #: 9780857664723